alkyl group derived from methane

Methyl is an ion. It is made by removing one of the hydrogen atoms from an atom of methane. It is an organic ion.[1] Its chemical formula is CH3. It bonds with other ions, such as hydroxide, to make chemical compounds. The bonding with hydroxide makes methanol. If it bonds with mercury, it makes dimethylmercury.

Different ways of representing a methyl group (highlighted in blue)

Methyl groups added to cytosine are the basis of epigenetics. They change the way genes act, and so explain how (for example) identical twins may turn out differently later in life. Or, they help understand how a mother's nutrition may have long-lasting effects on her offspring.[2]


  1. March, Jerry (1992). Advanced organic chemistry: reactions, mechanisms, and structure. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-60180-2
  2. Carey, Nessa 2011. The epigenetics revolution: how modern biology is rewriting our understanding of genetics, disease and inheritance. London: Icon Books. ISBN 978-184831347-7

Related pagesEdit